Possessing a competitive short game takes confidence that comes from crisp contact with the ball in all types of situations. As those drones showed us, we can all get some seriously challenging lies around the green. When the difficulty is not only getting it close, but also the lay of the land beneath the ball, contact becomes even more important.
The next time you practice your short game, start by creating crisp contact with the ball. Here’s a simple drill you can do to improve contact and grow your confidence:
Select your favorite chipping club. Pick a short game situation where you will play a medium-length bump and run. Take your normal stance and set the ball just ahead of center between your feet. Before you start swinging, raise your trail foot and balance it on your toe. This will place about 95% of your weight on your lead foot.
Start with a couple of practice swings brushing the grass. You will feel the club descending toward the ball. When it comes to making great contact, this feeling is very important. It will allow you to strike the ball very crisply. Once you consistently get a feel for catching just the grass, place a ball in there and chip it. Instantly the contact on the ball will pop it up into the air and toward the target.
Continue to try this exercise from all types of terrain. That’s the beauty of this simple drill, you can use it all around the green on different settings and types of grass. Confidence comes from knowing you can create a reliable downward strike on the ball. This is the opposite feeling most golfers face as they try to lift and scoop the shot.
Experiment with different clubs as you practice and experience different shots. Short game competency is about being prepared for as many situations as possible. Therefore, the next time a unique one presents itself in your next match, you’ll be ready to seize the moment.